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Interpersonal Skills

Prepared By:
Shaier Khan
Sr. Nursing Instructor
“Those skills which one needs in order to communicate
effectively with another person or a group of people” .
(Rungapadiachy, 1999)

 Interpersonal skills are needed to get along with others

 There are a number of core areas in which competency
is essential for effective interpersonal interactions.
 Nurses are always ought to improve their interpersonal
skills at each level.
 It is the insight into and ability to change their own
interpersonal behavior that will enable nurses to
enhance their professional practice.
Interpersonal Skills
 Self-awareness represents the capacity of becoming
the object of one’s own attention. In this state one
actively identifies, processes & stores information
about the self.
 Our knowledge of ‘self’ acts as a guide in helping us
choose our actions & the relationship we enter.
• Subjectively self-aware: when we are aware of our
internal thoughts or feelings.
• Objectively self-aware: when something happens to
make us aware of ourselves as other people
see us.
Interpersonal Skills
 Effective Listening
 The ability to listen effectively is a core skill in a range
of interpersonal situations.
 Intentional listening (as opposed to “hearing”) begins
only after auditory inputs have been processed by the ear
and have reached cortical areas of the brain (Rost, 2002).
 The processes of active interpretation are involved in
effective listening (Anderson & Lynch, 1988).
 The effective listener must extract meaning from the
message they have received in order to produce a
coherent interpretation.
Interpersonal Skills Cont…
 Questioning
The ability to use questions that maximize the amount
of relevant information that is gathered in an exchange,
serves to enhance the communicative efficiency of the
interaction (Hayes, 2002).
 Reflecting: “statements in the interviewer’s own words
that encapsulate and re-present the essence of
the interviewee’s own words” (Hargie & Dickson, 2004).
 Presenting reflections during interactions can serve a
similar information gathering function to that seen in
 Communication Skills

 Chant et al (2002) noted that patient satisfaction,

compliance and recovery can all be enhanced through
effective communication with and by nurses.

 Interpersonal communication skills are still lacking

in many areas of nursing practice.
 Helping or Facilitating
 Being effective at helping others is considered an
important aspect of interpersonal competence (Hayes,

 Helping skills refer to specific verbal skills such as

open questions, reflections of feelings, interpretations,
and direct guidance.
 Facilitation refers to the art of bringing adults together
with the learning, by helping adults learn through self-
 For facilitation to be effective, the emphasis must be
on both the acquisition and the use of the new
knowledge, skills, attitudes & abilities.

 This means the ability to put

yourself in the other person's
shoes, to see things from his
or her point of view.
 It allows us to create bonds of
trust, gives us insights into what
others may be feeling or thinking.
 Empathy is also particularly
critical to leadership development.
Building trust

 A shared belief that you can have

trust on each other to achieve a
common purpose.
 Building relationships requires
the building of trust.
 Trust is the expectancy of
people that they can rely on
your word.
 It is built through integrity and
consistency in relationships.
 Counseling
 Counseling is designed to help clients understand and
clarify their views on their life space and to learn to
reach their self determined goals through meaningful
and well informed choices (Burks & Stefflre, 1979).
 Counseling may be seen as a process whereby one
person helps another to clarify his/her life situations
and to decide upon future lines of action (Burnard, 1989).
 Communication skills form the foundation of
counseling skills (Macleod et al., 1991).
 Working with groups
 Whenever three or more people or more people exert
mutual influence on each other, they are said to be a
 Common nursing situations demanding group
understanding & skill include:
 Ward reports & ward rounds;
 Ward management meetings
 Team briefing & meetings, case conferences;
 Meetings with patients & relatives, visits to a family.
 Supervision & Appraisal
 Supervision concerns the direction, support and
development of the worker, group or team as they adopt
their skills to meet new service demands. (Metcalfe & Curtis,

 Performance appraisal is the process of evaluating the

performance of employees, sharing that information with
them & searching for ways to improve their performance.
 Supervision, appraisal and performance review
encourage experiential learning.
 Supervision, appraisal & performance review all
contribute to the delivery of quality nursing services.
 Managing Stress
 Stress is defined as “the adverse reaction people have
to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed
on them”.
 It is important to understand the impact on nursing staff
✦ the psychological and mental harm caused by stress
can adversely affect the delivery of patient care
✦ it can cause a great deal of distress to the employee
✦ it can affect an employee’s health & attendance
Dealing with difficult people
 The Chatterbox
Tell your coworker you have
trouble concentrating while you
are listening to her/his very
engaging stories.
Dealing with difficult people
 Gossip
Listen to your gossipy coworker
quietly, but don't become a
gossip too.
Change the subject or say that
you don't feel right discussing
someone behind his back.
The Delegator
 Make the statement that
managers are the only ones
who have the authority to
 Tell your coworker you have
your own work with which to
 If team work is encouraged in
your office and you have time
to help your colleague, then it
is good to help.
The Credit Grabber

 Mention it to your colleague and

ask him/her to let others know
about your participation.
 Make sure you let others know.
 Unless you are mandated to work
with this person, refuse to help
out again.
 Assertiveness
 It is the ability to state positively & constructively your
rights or needs without violating the rights of others.
 Being assertive can serve many functions including
allowing the expression of views clearly & openly and
the avoidance of negative conflicts (Hargie & Dickson, 2004).
 People confuse being aggressive with being assertive.
Guidelines for refusing a request gently,
yet effectively

 Review your priorities.

 Determine who is best to do the job.
 Work out your strategy and act right away.
 Offer your partner alternatives for getting
the job done.
 Offer partial, rather than full, support of the task.
Dealing with conflict
– A disagreement between people on:
Substantive issues regarding goals and tasks, allocation of
resources, distribution of rewards, policies and procedures,
and job assignments.

Emotional issues arising from feelings of anger, distrust,

dislike, fear, and resentment, as well as personality clashes

– Conflict that is well managed can help promote

creativity and high performance.
Dealing with conflict

Causes of conflict:
• Role ambiguities
• Resource scarcities
• Task interdependencies
• Competing objectives
• Structural differentiation
• Unresolved prior conflicts

Dealing with conflict
Conflict management styles:
– Avoidance (withdrawal)
• Uncooperative and unassertive
– Accommodation (smoothing)
• Cooperative and assertive
– Competition (authoritative command)
• Uncooperative and assertive
– Compromise
• Moderately cooperative and assertive
– Collaboration (problem solving)
• Cooperative and assertive 22
Dealing with conflict

Dealing with conflict

Conflict management styles:

Lose-lose conflict Win-lose conflict Win-win conflict

• Management by • Management by • Management by

avoidance or competition and collaboration
accommodation compromise

Dealing with conflict

Structural approaches for resolving conflicts:

– Appealing to higher level goals
– Making more resources available
– Changing the people
– Altering the physical environment

Dealing with conflict

– The process of making joint decisions when the
parties involved have different preferences

– All negotiation situations are susceptible to

conflict & require exceptional communication
and interpersonal skills.

Dealing with conflict

Third-party dispute resolution

– Mediation
• Involves a neutral third party who tries to
improve communication between negotiating
parties and keep them focused on relevant
– Arbitration
• Involves a neutral third party who acts as a
judge and issues a binding decision
Anderson, A. and Lynch, T. (1988). Listening. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Chant, S. Jenkinson, T. Randle, J. and Russell, G. (2002)
Communication skills: some problems in nursing education
practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 11, 12- 21.
Hargie, O. and Dickson, D. (2004). Skilled interpersonal
communication: Research, theory and practice (4th Edition).
Hove: Routledge.
Hayes, J. (2002). Interpersonal skills at work (2nd Edition). Hove:
Rost, M. (2002). Teaching and researching listening. Harlow: Pearson
Rungapadiachy, D.M. (1999). Interpersonal communication and
psychology for health care professionals: Theory and practice.
Edinburgh: Butterworth-Heinemann.